In current time, anyone can have access to the latest news or musical singles by just turning on a television. We have easy access to a fountain of information and entertainment which includes; movies available on demand from cable providers or television and video available online for streaming or download. We are exposed to media in cabs, schools, churches, hostels and from the comfort of our homes. However, it was not always this way. The evolution of media through the invention of modern or digital technologies has made this possible. In the latter days, people relied on gossip and later transcended into buying a newspaper if they wanted to get information on happenings in the society. This is the direct opposite of the media we see today, which allows us to simply check trends on our smart devices and televisions without any stress whatsoever.
This evolution did not just happen one day, it took years to get this far. Today the media reaches billions of people all at the same time.
Before the invention that began the growth of mass media in the 15th century, People depended on gossip and word of mouth to get local news. During this time, books were handwritten, and no two copies were exactly the same. Well, all these changed when Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable printing press which made the mass production of print media possible. Gutenberg’s invention aided the formation of massive cultural movements like; the European Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation.
In 1810, Friedrich Koenig, another German printer enabled the industrialization of printed media by hooking up the steam engine to a printing press. This made it possible for Koenig’s machine to print more than twice the number of pages a hand-operated printing press could produce per hour. By the 1930s, many printing presses operated at 3,000 pages per hour.
The Increased print rates of printing presses opened doors to the availability of more newspapers which served urbanized Americans greatly, enabling them to get accurate local news. Among the newspapers available at that time were the daily and penny newspapers. While the daily newspapers were essentially used by educated Americans in unfamiliar territories, the penny newspapers served a wider audience through entertaining stories at a very cheap price. The penny newspaper is what you can refer to as ‘gossip’ blogs or channels in today’s mass media.
In the 20th century, mass media grew more. It’s a first non-print form of mass media, the radio was invented. In the 1920s, the radio was widely used by a large number of people to listen to the same event at the same time. This was evident in Calvin Coolidge’s pre-election speech in 1924 which reached more than 20 million people. The radio entertained people daily and allowed people to advertise their businesses on air thus, reaching a larger crowd thereby securing more sales.
In the 1980s and 1990s, television and cables were introduced into mass media. However, the channels available on the television were limited. In 2004 cable television gained more attention because it provided its users more channels; movies, red carpet shows, animal life, music videos and other entertainment channels were available.
The contemporary and internet media age. The contemporary age was marked by the invention of the electrical Telegraph in 1837 by Samuel Morse used to exchange information from a distance along a wire by breaking and making an electrical connection. The telegraph acted as a precursor to other media technologies that followed including the telephone, radios, televisions and the internet.
The inventions of random-access memory (RAM) chips and microprocessors in the 1970s were important steps to the Internet age.
The digital media age encouraged the reduction of different kinds of content to digitally stored information. This means that print, film, recording, radio and television and all forms of telecommunications are being thought of as part of a single complex. This process is known as convergence and it is the current driving force of mass media.
The Role of Media in Society
1. Entertainment: The media is a source of fantasy and a way to relieve yourself of stress. Entertainment from the media makes one laugh and forget about bad days.
2. Information and education: The media provides us with different forms of information and education. News from newspapers, televisions and radios grants us knowledge of happenings in the society. The internet is loaded with lots of educating articles on different topics.
3. Public forum: The media is very useful in discussing important issues. The Internet is a medium that gives its users the ability to express their opinions through blogging or podcasting. A section of newspapers provides its readers with a means to respond to their opinions on the issues affecting the country. Similarly, radio stations have discussion sessions where listeners are allowed to call the radio house and matters are discussed on air by anyone tuned to that radio station.
4. Advertisement: Businesses and companies use the media to advertise their products and services. Advertisements can be done on the internet, television stations, radio stations, through magazines, newspapers and posters.
5. Observe government businesses and other institutions: A novel title ‘The Jungle’ written by Upton Sinclair in 1906 exposed the miserable conditions in the turn-of-the-century meatpacking industry. Also, in the early 1970s, Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered evidence that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Print media is one of the oldest methods of communicating information. It includes magazines, books, brochures and newspapers. Print media is said to have more advantage of having an impact on the minds of the readers. Print media may also include billboards, transit posters, yellow pages, and direct mail.
The digital media is the most commonly used type of media. It consists of any form of digitized content that can be transmitted by using the internet. Digital media includes texts, videos, graphics and audio. An example is media content from a television network published on a website, blog or any other digital media platform.
Types of Digital Media
1. Paid media: This is the most traditional type of digital media. Examples are digital display ads, paid search, and native advertising. Paid media allows you to reach a large-scale audience. Thus, often described as advertising media.
2. Owned media: This type of media is directly controlled by a brand or company. It includes; a company’s website and/or blog and social media accounts. Anything published in this kind of media is solely the company’s intellectual property. Owned media promotes a particular company’s content and is used to establish relationships between the company and its customers.
3. Earned media: Earned media includes SEO rankings, social media mentions, and content getting picked up by a third party. In earned media, your content is promoted by your users or customers.
The world of media has experienced great advancement over the years, and this has enabled information, technology and education reach a large number of people at the same time within a very short period of time.